Overcoming the sunk cost effect
Muse #194 - when to believe who to believe
Life tests your decision-making skills often. Last Friday our family dog was unwell. Our regular vet was unavailable due to the long weekend that included the Monday holiday as well. We left a couple of voicemails to our regular vet and then we were forced to take the dog to an emergency vet.
We did receive a course of action from this Vet. Until we talked to our regular vet who was back today. Who reviewed the situation and knowing Kobe’s history recommended a different course of action. The question now was whether to continue the treatment options proposed by the emergency vet or bite the bullet, write off the spend and go back to the regular vet to get a fresh consult and medicines (in spite of the emergency spend)
Of course, the answer is easy, but the decision is difficult. Mostly due to the sunken cost effect - the time, money, and the cascade of meds which were sitting in our house all need to be negated with the new approach. But considering the fact that our regular vet knew our dog Kobe well, the treatment was more adequately geared to his individual state than a generic treatment and that is what we did.
We changed the treatment with the additional information that was now available. The previous treatment was relevant only at the previous point in time based on information available at that time. With more information available, the decision had to be revisited in spite of the investments or spend made. The option of continuing the previous treatment path and then revisiting the regular vet to have a second course of action if the previous treatment failed was no longer the optimum way to handle things, so the previous decision was negated and had to be thrown out.
But, the right decisions are hard. Especially when one had to change course on a previously right decision which was taken only a few days ago. But, as decisions have a half-life (and this case a short one at that), the easy (easier said than done) answer is to revisit it. And change it.